Updating your estate plan with COVID-19 in mind is something everyone should do this year. We will still be dealing with COVID for several more months. Regardless of whether a pandemic exists, reviewing your estate every now and then is always a good idea. During COVID-19, the time is now rather than then.
Re-familiarize yourself with your estate plan documents. Carefully read, through them looking any changes to your plan, especially keeping in mind the challenges of living in a COVID-19 world.
Below is a list of items to for when reviewing your documents to see if they need updating.
YOUR KEY PERSONAL
Evaluate your agents under your powers of attorney; your executor under your will; your trustee or alternate trustee of your trust, and who should be the guardian and/or conservator of your minor children.
Bear in mind if any of these folks are still willing and able to help you out if you become incapacitated, take over your estate, trust, or care for your children should you die. Consider the age, health, distance from you, ability to travel, and competence using the Internet. Is there someone else you trust who could better fulfill the obligations of the job.
Sometimes due to the age of the document or changed circumstances your estate plan may need updating. Contrary to what most people believe an estate plan isn’t a “one and done”. Many financial institutions will not accept a power of attorney if it’s older than five years. Check with your bank. Additionally, your power of attorney should account for your digital assets and giving your agent the ability to access your accounts.
Also, make sure your medical power of attorney is up-to-date and has a HIPAA release, and your agent is still willing and able to help you if need be.
In the same light, look into the age of your will. If it been more than ten years, or if there’s been significant changes in your life such as, grown kids, marriages, divorces, births, and deaths then you’ll need to account for these changes in your estate plan. Make changes by amending your will, with a codicil, or redrafting the entire will.
Most importantly, check to see if your will is signed, witnessed twice, and notarized. Only then, it is self-proving and will automatically be accepted by the Court. If it missing one of those, then the validity of the will can be contested in probate court.
Look over your beneficiary designations retirement and investment accounts, personal property memo, trusts and beneficiary deeds. (If you have them.) Are they correct? One of the most overlooked parts of estate planning. If you need help or coaching, seek out a financial planner.
Leave instructions and tell someone where to find it. A letter of last in instructions will be a big help to your family and loved ones in case they ever need access to your accounts, including digital accounts.
Updating your estate plan is worth the hour or two investment of tiem. A lot of things have changed in the last year, especially access to each other.
If you haven’t started on your estate plan, there’s no better time than yesterday. If you’d like to start send an email or schedule a free twenty minute consultation. I offer flat fees based on a sliding scale.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice about your case or situation. There may be exceptions to the information outlined above. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions about your estate or a decedent’s estate.Follow me on social media: